'Earthly treasure and architecture' route

The UNESCO 'Earthly treasure and architecture' route covers the longest period of all. It vividly documents everything from industrial heritage to prehistoric excavations. Stunning old quarters and outstanding places of special religious significance complete this tour of striking contrasts that also offers walking enthusiasts some particularly lovely routes.

The route

Which city is home to the world's biggest exhibition site? Perhaps Tokyo? No, sorry – try again. Chicago, London, Shanghai? Wrong again. Frankfurt? Getting closer. The answer is in fact Hannover. Thanks to its state-of-the-art exhibition centre, the city has become an engine for the global economy, and a byword for ideas, innovation and investment.

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Built from 1911 to designs by Adolf Meyer and Walter Gropius, the subsequent star architect of the Bauhaus school, the Fagus Factory is widely regarded as the first truly modernist structure. Typical of the Neues Bauen style, the glass and steel facade and the huge, wrap-around corner windows free of supports lend the building an elegant feeling of lightness.

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St. Michael's Church and St. Mary's Cathedral in Hildesheim near Hannover are two outstanding examples of early-Romanesque architecture. Both churches symbolise the heyday of religious art in the Holy Roman Empire, exemplify the creative skill of Bishop Bernward and are blessed with a wealth of famous historical art treasures.

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Reminders of Germany's earliest industrial heritage: documenting around 1,000 years of mining history, the Mines of Rammelsberg on the outskirts of the beautiful old town of Goslar were once the largest interconnected repositories of copper, lead and zinc ore in the world. Energy for the mine was supplied by the Upper Harz water management system, the world's foremost pre-industrial water management system for the mining industry.

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Quedlinburg, which enjoys an idyllic location on the Romanesque Route , was an important royal and imperial town in the Middle Ages. With its historical layout and over 1,300 timber-framed houses from a period spanning six centuries, Quedlinburg is a fine example of a beautifully preserved medieval town. It also boasts a wealth of art nouveau architecture.

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On 21st June 2014, the former Benedictine monastery of Corvey, in Höxter Westphalia, became the 39th location in Germany to be awarded the UNESCO World Heritage title. And rightly so, because it is an historical art treasure of inestimable value. The former imperial Abbey with its nearly 1,200 year history is regarded as one of the most important monastic foundations in medieval Germany.

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Covering 240 hectares in the north Hessen city of Kassel, baroque Wilhelmshöhe Park is designed in the style of an English landscape garden and is Europe's largest hillside park. Together with Wilhelmshöhe Palace, it forms a unique whole that combines culture, nature and landscape architecture in perfect harmony.

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With more than 40,000 finds to date, the Messel Pit is one of the world's most productive fossil sites, documenting dramatic changes to the biosphere during past geological periods. It reveals the wonders of evolution around 47 million years ago and was designated Germany's first UNESCO World Natural Heritage site in 1995.

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Frankfurt is first and foremost a city of modernity. Business, architecture and Europe's third-largest airport – they're all here and they're all at the cutting edge. Perhaps that's why Frankfurt has grown a particular fondness for museums that vary greatly in terms of size, style and subject matter. The city prides itself on always staying ahead of the times, whilst preserving traditions at the same time.

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